EDITORIAL: Return To Nkrumah's Ideals
In September 2009, the late President J.E.A. Mills declared September 21 the Founder’s Day in memory of our first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah.
Incidentally, that day marked the 100th birthday of Dr Nkrumah, the man who led the struggle for Ghana’s independence in 1957.
That anniversary ushered in the one-year centenary celebration of Dr Nkrumah, during which his life, works and aspirations were showcased to the rest of the world.
During the celebration, people from all walks of life, including those from the Diaspora stormed Ghana to deliberate on the events leading to the independence of Ghana and thereafter as well as the opportunities that we missed as a nation as a result of the violent overthrow of Dr Nkrumah on February 24, 1966.
For some time now, even die-hard critics of Dr Nkrumah have come to realise his greatness, having been acknowledged as the African personality of the past century.
When Nkrumah declared, on the eve of independence, that “the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked to the total liberation of Africa”, many people, including some African leaders, thought he was dreaming.
With hindsight, we think Nkrumah really dreamt but he took steps to realise his dreams by making Ghana the centre of the liberation struggle on the continent.
As we once again celebrate Founder’s Day, the fourth in the series, the Daily Graphic reminds all Ghanaians to revisit some of the ideals of our founder, such as nationalism, patriotism and hard work, so that we can take our destiny into our own hands.
Dr Nkrumah’s idea of self-government was not just the struggle for independence, only to turn round with cup in hand begging for hand-outs from the same colonial masters. That practice he referred to as neo-colonialism and urged his people to work hard to be self-reliant.
Again, his idea of a self-reliant country was not to make Ghana an island onto itself but to rely on the support of friendly countries to rebuild the country. That explains why he joined forces with leaders such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Sukarno and Gamal Abdel Nasser to form the Non-Aligned Movement in order to steer clear of the bi-polar politics that had then engulfed the world.
Under Nkrumah’s watch, Ghana was able to secure support from the then USSR and the USA to carry out the development of the country. Many silos were built and scholarships were offered to students to study in the USSR, while Kaiser of the USA helped to build the Akosombo Dam.
He also introduced the substitution industrialisation policy under which many industries were built throughout the country to turn the country’s abundant raw materials into industrial output for export and local consumption.
These industrial plants provided jobs and sustenance for many Ghanaians and their families because at the time even basic school leavers could come by jobs as factory hands.
Unfortunately, after Dr Nkrumah’s overthrow, many of his policies were not followed through, including his plans to make education free at the basic level.
It is sad that many of the projects embarked upon by Nkrumah have been left to deteriorate, such as the Tema Motorway, Tema township, state-owned industrial plants and schools. These projects are crying for revival to help in the resuscitation of the economy.
On the occasion of this year’s Founder’s Day, we urge all Ghanaians to return to the late President Nkrumah’s ideals and be of service to society, be patriotic and nationalistic so that we can collectively work towards improving the well-being of all.
The Daily Graphic salutes all those whose struggle and sacrifices have brought us this far in nation-building.